As reported in the Washington Post on October 11, 2018, Pamela Simpson has been honored by the dedication of a building in her name at Washington & Lee University, where she taught for many years. Pam was a past-president of VAF, co-editor of Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, and attendee of every annual meeting from our organization’s inception until her death in 2011. VAF annually sponsors Simpson Fellows—students and young professionals who deliver papers at our conference—in her honor.
Washington & Lee, like many institutions, is in the process of re-evaluating its history with slavery. One recommendation from a commission examining the school’s legacy was to rename certain buildings. Accordingly, the Lee-Jackson House, named after two Confederate heroes, was renamed the Simpson House in honor of Pam, who was the first woman professor to be tenured at the university. As one of her VAF friends said, “What a nice way to honor such a wonderful person.”